Canali makes a grand comeback in Florence
Canali truly made a statement in Florence, organising one of the most stylish events at Pitti Uomo. The historic luxury menswear brand, founded in 1934 in Brianza, north of Milan, had eschewed the menswear trade show for several years and instead had chosen to show in Milan. However, this season the brand returned to Florence to show off a new strategy accompanied by an updated image.
For the occasion, the Antinori estate, which has produced wine for more than 600 years, exclusively opened its Florentine palace for the Canali family, their longtime friends. This allowed the brand to receive guests in one of Florence’s most beautiful buildings. Models were nonchalantly placed around the building in a row of lounges, placed on armchairs or sofas by fireplaces either lost in a book or with a drink in hand.
“Canali is changing. We want to maintain our DNA and over 80 years of heritage while simultaneously evolving our image and production to adapt to the new requirements of the market. Thanks to our financial strength, we have been able to take our time to put our strategy in place without succumbing to market struggles,” Stefano Canali, the brand’s general manager, told FashionNetwork.com.
The group, still in the hands of its founding family and in its third generation, turned its speciality into its greatest asset: a unique menswear label manufactured entirely in Italy. However, this model put the label, like its competitors, at a disadvantage, due to its capacity for over-production and the fact that the label's core business, men’s formal wear, could no longer respond to the demands of the market. This caused the brand to shut one of its factories in 2017 and to reposition its image.
One of the brand’s first strategic decisions was to create the role of marketing director, which was previously non-existent. Canali entrusted the role to an external executive, Matteo Rizzi, formerly of Luxottica, who joined the brand in December last year.
In 2018, the business achieved an organic revenue total, at constant exchange rates, of €210 million, in line with previous years, with exports making up 90 percent of sales. Canali’s largest market is the US, followed by Greater China, Russia and Canada, with the Italian market making up only 8 percent of sales. The brand, which has around 1,500 employees, has a network of 900 multi-brand stores and 160 single-brand stores, 40 of these being directly operated. In Paris, the brand retails from stores at Rue Marbeuf and La Défense.
This past year, the house of Sovico (Lombardy) has primarily focused on product and image with a renewed offer from Korean designer Hyun Wook Lee, who worked on the collections for two seasons, the brand’s former director of product development, Daniele Giannini, having since taken over.
The result is a style that is more contemporary and refreshing with a softer, more relaxed elegance. This is executed whilst still maintaining the brand’s high quality of materials and craftsmanship. With 34 ensembles and only three ties amongst them, the collection saw an end to starched suits. Clothing is super-light, deconstructed, and free from linings.
Another project of the brand’s is the launch of the “Black Edition”, the brand’s first ever casual wear collection. The line is realised in black with grey tones and will be expanded over time, with more sporty and technical pieces such as jackets and denim among others.
The brand also diversified in 2017 by launching an eyewear line with L'Amy America, part of the International Luxury Group.
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